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Practical Steps: When Are hypothyroid diets, Cytomel or Armour Thyroid Alternative Thyroid Treatments Indicated?

Most advocates of thryoid treatment suggest that the following factors should make you think about alternative thyroid treatments such as hypothyroid diets, Cytomel or Armour Thyroid:

  • If your symptoms “sound like” typical low thyroid symptoms e.g. feeling cold, constipation, gaining weight, feeling tired, sluggish or depressed
  • If before you get out of bed, you take your under-arm (axillary) temperature for five minutes and your temperature is usually below 97.6 degrees
  • If when your doctor uses a reflex hammer to measure your ankle reflex, it takes a long time for your ankle to return to its normal position
  • If your standard thyroid blood tests show that your pituitary gland is having to work extra hard to push your thyroid to make thyroid hormone, for example, if the TSH blood test is higher than 3.0
  • If sophisticated thyroid tests shows low levels of free T3 or free T4 thyroid hormone. Or if there is a high level of a thyroid blocking hormone known as reverse T3

Contraindications for Alternative Thyroid Treatments including Cytomel and Armour Thyroid

There’s rarely a “free lunch”. A low dose of thyroid hormone supplement is very unlikely to cause harm, but exceptions can and do occur. More important as thyroid treatment doses increase, so too does the risk of side-effects. These risks apply both to the standard T4 containing thyroid treatments (Synthroid and Levoxyl) as well as to the T3 containing alternative thyroid treatments (Cytomel and Armour Thyroid).

The most important potential risk is among people with heart disease, especially those who are prone to irregular or rapid heart beat patterns (arrhythmia) or who are at high risk for heart attacks. High doses of thyroid tend to increase risk for abnormal heart rhythmis, for angina and also for heart attacks.

Be more cautious about using mid and high level alternative thyroid treatments if you have:

  • known heart disease or a high cardiac risk profile (over 50 years of age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cigarettes, diabetes)
  • vulnerability to rapid, irregular or extra heart beats including ventricular premature beats and atrial fibrillation.
    o medication that tends to promote heart arrhythmia, for example, tricyclic anti-depressants such as Elavil/amitryptiline, Digoxin

Hypothyroid Diets and Alternative Thyroid Treatments

Hypothyroid diets are too often overlooked in both mainstream and alternative thyroid treatments. Poor diet can harm the thyroid’s ability to make T4 thyroid hormone, as well as the cell’s ability to convert T4 (Synthroid) into the active thyroid hormone, T3 (Cytomel and Armour Thyroid).

Dietary deficiency of iodine was once a very common cause of both hypothyroid as well as thyroid enlargement (goiter). However, since iodine began being added to most brands of table salt, a hypothyroid diet due to iodine deficiency is now relatively rare. People who eat little seafood and who take very little salt might want to check their multivitamin to be sure that it contains iodine.

However, too much iodine is also not good on a hypothyroid diet. Too much iodine can actually block the thyroid’s ability to make hormone, so high dose iodine supplements are not recommended.
Hypothyroid diets due to thyroid-blocking actions from cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can block thyroid if these otherwise highly nutritious foods are eaten in very high doses. Certain medicines can also block thyroid hormone such as Lithium. L-Carnitine, a powerful and potentially useful energy promoting nutritional product can also block the thyroid if taken in high doses.

Selenium and Hypothyroid diets. Selenium may be the “sleeping giant” of natural thyroid therapies. Selenium is essential for converting T4 thyroid hormone into it’s active form, T3. Selenium may also have the ability to suppress anti-thyroid antibodies for persons who suffer from thyroid inflammation or thyroiditis. Repairing a selenium deficit, could in some people, actually repair thyroid metabolism by increasing the intracellular conversion of T4 to T3.

Effective hypothyroid diets should seek a broad range of natural foods including whole grains, seafoods, nuts, and seeds. Include a broad based multi-vitamin. Vitamin D and Zinc may be important.

Recent Research On hypothyroid diets and Alternative Thyroid Treatments including Cytomel and Armour Thyroid

Mary Shomon is one of the leading advocates of natural thyroid therapies and alternative thyroid treatments. Thyroid.about.com, has an immense amount of information and links to resources on Cytomel and Armour Thyroid, hypothyroid diets, and alternative thyroid treatments

Thyroid-Info.com, has additional information, including material on alternative thyroid treatments.

Dr. John Lowe’s website is an excellent source of information about health and alternative thyroid treatments,Cytomel and Armour Thyroid, especially as they relate to fibromyalgia.

See also our introductory discussion: Alternative Hypothyroid Treatments.